Learn to Cook Like Your Ancestors Did

Learning to cook like your ancestors did may help you to lose weight, or avoid putting weight on at all.

This article on Huffington Post describes “Cooking Classes In African Cuisine” and every recipe they cook is plant-based, either vegetarian or vegan.

Every culture has loads of delicious plant-based recipes. When I lived in the far east a few years ago I had no trouble at all staying away from meat.

Community-Led Cooking Classes In African Cuisine Are Helping People Lose Weight, Eat Healthier

When it comes to working toward a healthier lifestyle, the answers to the problems of obesity, diabetes and diet-related chronic illnesses that threaten our future might actually lie in our past.

That is the message of Oldways, a Boston-based food and nutrition education organization, and, thanks to a unique initiative called the African Heritage and Health Program, it is an idea that could go a long way toward addressing some of the serious health disparities facing black Americans.

The volunteer program is an extension of the African Heritage Diet Pyramid, which Oldways created in 2011 with historians and dietitians. The idea is straightforward: to not only teach students how to prepare healthy and flavorful food, but also to help them understand how such food connects to their African heritage.

“It gives people the tools they need, the techniques they can apply to different plant-based foods on the pyramid,” Sarah McMackin, the program’s manager at Oldways, told The Huffington Post. “The impetus is to try and really help people put this way of eating into practice today.”

Variety is endless with plant-based ethnic cooking

Variety is endless with plant-based ethnic cooking

The program is 100 percent plant-based — “because we know that is the part of the plate most people could use the most help with,” McMackin explained — and classes are offered free of charge thanks to a grant from the Walmart Foundation. The initiative began as a pilot program in 2013, and has since grown to the point where it has been offered at 100 different sites nationwide.

An African Heritage and Health Program class begins to take shape when a volunteer instructor signs up through the Oldways website and commits to teaching six weekly meetings, recruiting students and helping them track their progress. The organization provides the curriculum and can help instructors secure appropriate kitchen space. In some cases, Oldways has provided funding to reimburse the cost of groceries, but in others the instructors fundraise — or consider charging a small student fee — to cover that expense.

Instructors, according to McMackin, have included people from a range of backgrounds including dietitians, chefs and other community members who simply want to get themselves — as well as their community organization or faith group — to make better food choices.

In the first week of class outlined in the curriculum, students taste Jollof rice, a traditional West African dish, learn how to use herbs and spices to make spicy chickpeas and other dishes, and engage in an education segment about hidden sodium in processed foods. By the sixth week, students learn how to make braised cabbage, blackened okra and a mango and papaya fruit salad, and receive tips on how to make healthier choices when eating out.

Be sure to look for ethnic cooking classes in your community. They could make you healthier and slimmer.
Read the Whole Story on Huffington Post